Current Affairs


INS Virat decommissioned in 2016 after serving 30 years in Indian Navy

  • INS Viraat (R-22) was commissioned by the British Royal Navy as HMS Hermes (R-12) on November 18, 1959.
  • It is the last of the conventional Centaur class aircraft carriers. It was one of four strike carriers in the Royal Navy at the time and its area of operation was primarily the Indian Ocean.
  • It also had a notable role to play in the falklands wars. It was decommissioned after serving 27 years in the Royal Navy in 1984.
  • It also served the purpose of anti-submarine support ship, a commando carrier and a jump jet carrier. HMS Hermes was fitted with ski jumps for the Harrier vertical/short takeoff and landing.
  • India chose to induct HMS Hermes into her fleet and submitted a request to purchase. The request was approved in 1986.
  • NS Viraat was inducted into the Indian Navy on 12 May, 1987 at the port town of Plymouth in UK and by then British High Commissioner to India P.C. Alexander. The operational birds on the carrier were Sea Harrier — (White Tigers-fighter aircraft)
  • INS Viraat was initially meant to be decommissioned in 2009. However, due to delays in refurbishing of the Soviet-built aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (R-33), INS Viraat had to be refitted for service till 2016 when it completed 57 years of service life.
  • Viraat served as a lone carrier in the Indian Navy for several years and after its decommissioning, INS Vikramaditya will be the only serving aircraft carrier till the new carrier INS Vikrant is inducted.
  • Viraat’s first major operation was Operation Jupiter in 1989. It followed the breakdown of the Indian-Sri Lanka accord of 1986. The carrier was sent as part of India Peace Keeping Operations in Sri Lanka. Viraat’s last operational deployment was in 2016 when it took part in the International Fleet Review at Vishakhapatnam
  • It has also taken part in international joint naval exercises like the Malabar exercise with the US Navy, Varuna with the French Navy and also Naseem-Al-Bahr with the Oman Navy. It was also a vital part of the yearly TROPEX exercise.